Creative: Newcampaigns

Saatchi Unveils Bourbon Effort
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York
Client: Austin, Nichols & Co., New York
Chief Creative Officer: Tod Seisser
Executive Cd/Art Director: Craig Miller
Cd/Copywriter: Doug Pippin
Art Director: Kem Dinally
Photographer: Craig Cutler Studio, New York (Product Shots)
Call Of The Wild
Saatchi & Saatchi’s first campaign for Wild Turkey bourbon was built on months of solid consumer research, including a survey of 1,000 whiskey drinkers. But it wasn’t until the agency’s creative team traveled to Lawrenceburg, Ky., to visit the distillery that they found true inspiration.
It was there that executive creative director Craig Miller met James “Jimmy” Russell, a master distiller “right out of central casting.” Though the agency had already settled on a campaign theme, contrasting pop culture with the brand’s down-home heritage, Russell, a native of Lawrenceburg who has worked in the distillery since 1954, helped crystallize the creative approach.
With a classic Southern drawl, Russell spoke lovingly of the company’s bourbon-making process, a trade he learned firsthand from his father.
From that initial meeting, the agency’s battle cry became: “Let’s do it for Jimmy. Let’s make sure we represent Wild Turkey in the way he would want it represented,” says Miller.
The end result is a $3 million U.S. campaign, breaking outdoor next week and in more than a dozen consumer magazines next month. It not only captures the
heritage of Wild Turkey (“The finest Kentucky bourbon. Made in Lawrenceburg”), but also pokes fun at the trendiness of sport-utility vehicles, alternative rock, hot tubs and “extreme games.”
The client also plans to use this campaign abroad, specifically in Japan and Australia, where Wild Turkey is popular. Total global ad spending is estimated at $6-8 million for 1999.
“In different ways, [the campaign] plays on the heritage and the kind of no-nonsense” attitude of the brand, explains Tod Seisser, the agency’s chief creative officer.
Tagged “Not the latest thing. The genuine thing,” the four ads feature a glowing sunset–to reflect the golden hue of the bourbon–behind various small-town images, such as two men sitting on a wall playing chess and a youngster skimming stones on a lake. Beneath each photo is a note typed on what appears to be an
old Royal. “5:25 p.m. Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The extreme games begin,” reads the note under the chess players. “The alternative rock scene,” it says under the image of the stone skimmer.
Working with a limited production budget, the agency used stock art rather than photos of the Kentucky town. “We created four ads for the price it would have cost us to go off and shoot two,” explains Miller.
“What we’ve done is add more layers” to the advertising to “make the brand more accessible,” says Chris Willis, director of strategic marketing at Wild Turkey.
The brand’s last advertising effort in 1996, created by Wild Turkey’s previous agency–Angotti, Thomas, Hedge– featured its signature bird and copy that touted its standards of excellence. The tagline: “101 proof, real Kentucky.”